Monday, August 1, 2011


This is another chapter in the book I am compiling about girls growing up in the South. Ella was my mother's aunt, half-sister to mother's mother, Elizabeth, who is mentioned in the story. Aunt Ella is gone now, but lives on in the love and memories of her children, grand-children, and great-grandchildren as well as her other family members. She had a remarkably clear head when she wrote this and I wish I had more of her memories. Ella was born in 1909.


Dear Niece,

Thanks for writing and the pretty card. Hope your cold is better. I haven’t had one so far this year and am so grateful.

Of course, I don’t get out any more unless someone is with me to keep me from falling as I don’t have any balance and I can’t hardly hear. I don’t even talk on the phone as I can’t hear. I am now 92 years old (written in 2001), have been lots of places, seen lots of things. I am proud of that and have my memories of them.

I will try to answer your questions as best I remember them.

I grew up mostly in Belmont (N.C.). Our house was made of wood painted white with 3 bedrooms, a living room, and a sitting room, a kitchen and dining room in one end of the kitchen. No inside bathroom. Took our baths in a big washing tub. Like we did our clothes. Used a wash board. Boiled them in a big black boiler. Used 3 tubs of Ranch Water (rinse water). My mother was not well. So a black woman did the work. Most times, all 6 of my sisters and 1 brother worked at the mill. Dad worked at Union Store. We always had plenty of food and Mom was a good cook and a loving mother. I never heard Mom and Dad talk mean to each other. And all of us got along good together.

We all had good friends, which was at our house lots. There was some kind of entertainment in the park on Saturday night. If it was raining, Dad would make a big oyster stew and the older sisters had their friends at our house. I didn’t eat oysters, so we had ice cream, too. Them was the good old days.

Well, I was nervous as a child, so I didn’t do too many bad things those days. Only got 2 spankings from Mom. One of them was calling Marry (sp) and Lula a devil. They caused me to get the spanking in the first time. They was always fighting each other over something little. People thought they were twins and they didn’t like that.

In the first grade at school, I did not like my teacher. She was a old maid and very hateful. I got sent to the principal’s office several times. I did not get a spanking from him. He would say, “Honey, you can dust my desk and straighten it up for me.” He knew how my teacher was. He was a young crippled man and so good. We walked to school just a short distance from our house. So was the town of Belmont.

When I was young, I had lots of friends – a happy childhood. A loving Mom and Dad, 5 sisters and 3 brothers and we loved each other. My home was happy.

Well, I played basket ball and we were called the Bloomer Girls as our bloomers was black satin. Took 3 yards of cloth to make them. White blouse. And I liked to play Hop Scotch. Hide and Seek.

I had a nice boy friend when I was 14 and loved him very much. And almost married him. But just too young.

When I grew up, I had nice boy friends. My Dad said, “Do your dating at home.” And we had a nice living room to entertain them. We had a Victrola, so we listened to music or just talked. We had a big fireplace in it which burned logs. Dad always built a fire in it and said, “When the logs burn up, it’s bed time.” So we would slip out and get another log. Couldn’t leave a fire going as it might set the carpet on fire.

If I did go anywhere in a car, my brother, Bill, and his girl friend was with me and they got married one week after I did. I was just 16 when I married. He was a good looking you man, but he liked (lacked) 3 months of being 18, so both of our Dads had to sign for us to get married so young. Was married on Valentine’s Day – 16 on January 9, married February 14. That’s just too young. But lived together as long as he lived. O, we had our ups and downs, but stayed together. Had one son Stan Baker. Have 4 grandchildren, 6 great-grandchildren, and 1 great-great-granddaughter. There is 5 generations in my family.

When I lived in Belmont, I had lots of girl friends to play with and we was so happy. And, of course, I claimed some little boys as sweethearts. So did the other girls. I never forgot my friends there. The ones I loved there are all dead now. And most of the ones I had in Lenoir (N.C.) are, too. I never forget a friend.

One time my older sisters went on a train to Edgemont and stayed in a hotel there. Well, I wanted to go, too. But I could not. I cried but I didn’t get to go anyway. It made me so sad, I wished I was older. Now I would like to be younger, but I can’t get that, either.

We had a 5-piece living (room) set, a center table, plenty of room and gas lights. Carbide gas, which was made at home when we moved to Lenoir from Belmont. Dad built a 7-room house.

I was took to church when small. The Lutheran church and joined at12 years old. My Mom always went to the Lutheran church and Dad was raised a Lutheran.

I cannot tell you much about your grandmother, Elizabeth. She was grown up when I was small. She was a very pretty young girl. I did know her in later days and I loved her. Went to see her as often as I could. And all the rest of my sisters and brother – I loved them all.

Had a good home, plenty to eat, a loving Mom and Dad, sisters and brothers. One brother I’ve never seen. He died before I was born and a little sister died. She was the baby of our family. She was so pretty. I was 6 years old when she died. She was 3 years old.

When Grandma Wise died, I was 4 years old and Clyde was 2. But I remember how she looked. Mom took Rosamay, Clyde and Cathern (sp) to Lincolnton (N.C.) to Aunt Jesse to see her. It was pouring rain and we went to the grave in buggies. It was cold, too.

I was named after the only sister Dad had. Her name was Ella and Mom’s sister’s name was Jane. So my name is Ella Jane. I have a coffee cup an old lady gave me when I was 6 years old and the cup was old when she gave it to me. It’s over 100 years old now. It’s precious to me. That’s the most I remember about things.

It was sweet of you to write me.

Write me again. Tell Holly (Beth’s daughter) hi for me. I like the pictures she draws. She is a pretty girl. Tell all hi for me. I love you.

Hope you can read this mess. I can’t hardly read it.

Old in years and looks,

But young at heart

At 92 Love, Ella

P.S. I do not remember too much about what I done in those days. Am sure I wasn’t a little angel.

Best I can do.

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